Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison say they have been able to both diagnose and treat the condition while the baby is still in the womb.
Irregular and sometimes life-threatening heart rhythms -- called arrhythmias -- are able to be treated thanks to electric jolts in defibrillators and pacemakers, but those jolts aren't completely without risk. Not only can they be painful, but in some instances they can even damage tissue.
And while most people would probably put up with a little pain if it means saving their lives, five biomedical engineers at Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook universities figured they'd work on improving the system to see if these devices would work just as well without the jolts of electricity.
Instead, they want … Read more
Cardio med tech company Biotronik today announced Food and Drug Administration approval of the world's first implantable cardiac defibrillator that uses just one lead to sense atrial arrhythmias.
For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of the heart, let's back up. Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common heat arrhythmia, occurs when the electrical signals in the atria (the heart's two upper chambers) fire fast and frenetically, causing the atria to essentially quiver instead of pulse regularly, which can result in blood pooling or clotting and thus greatly increase the risk of stroke and congestive heart failure.… Read more
Researchers are reporting that they have found, for the first time, that tiny electrical spinning tops ("rotors") within the heart cause atrial fibrillation (AF), a type of arrhythmia in which the heartbeat is faster and irregular.
What's more, they found that by targeting the so-called eye of the storm, they could actually slow or even terminate the AF, the multidisciplinary team from UC San Diego, UCLA, and Indiana University reports in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Arrhythmia, a heart rhythm disorder that affects millions of Americans every year, can lead to a stroke or even sudden cardiac death, if left untreated. And monitoring a patient's heart rhythm for a few minutes or even hours over the course of a doctor's visit often doesn't provide enough data for accurate diagnosis.
Enter the Zio Patch, a new wireless (and fully recyclable) device that adheres to the chest for up to 14 days of continuous monitoring, and can simply be removed and mailed in for results. "It's like the Netflix of heart care," … Read more
Sudden death syndrome--an umbrella term for a range of heart conditions that can lead to cardiac arrest--is notorious for striking those who seem most fit.
That is because the condition, thought to be largely hereditary, is often triggered by overexertion. Tragically for some, the first symptom can be cardiac arrest.
It's possible, though costly, to screen for SDS. In fact, after soccer prodigy John Marshall died of a sudden heart attack at age 16 in 1994, the day before he was set to join Everton, testing became compulsory for professional athletes in several countries.
Good thing, especially for those who don't have the means that professional athletes do, that a doctor at Tel Aviv University may have just made testing for the condition far simpler and more affordable.
"There is such a significant overlap between what's normal and abnormal on an ECG [electrocardiogram] that we need additional screening parameters," Dr. Sami Viskin, a cardiologist at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, said yesterday in a university press release. "This test, when done on people with strong symptoms, can really give...doctors a yardstick to compare those at risk for sudden death syndrome to those who would otherwise go on to live a healthy life."
Named after the doctor, the Viskin Test is easy on the patient, who simply undergoes a baseline ECG while resting in the supine position, and is then asked to stand quickly and remain still during continuous ECG recording.… Read more
A cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England, tomorrow will try to perform the world's first heart procedure using a robotic arm paired with advanced 3D mapping to treat a 63-year-old patient with atrial fibrillation (or AF, the most common arrhythmia).
The procedure, which will incorporate use of the CARTO-3 mapping software, comes just six months after Dr. André Ng became the first to perform a remote catheter ablation using the hospital's Amigo Robotic Catheter System, and just eight years after the hospital began performing ablation to treat AF.
In the procedure, a surgeon (or bot) inserts … Read more
Researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Pennsylvania say they are the first to demonstrate a flexible silicon electronics device for a medical application.
Unveiled in the cover story of the journal Science Translational Medicine this week, the device not only bends, twists, and stretches, but it also produces high-density maps of a heart's electrical activity, an accomplishment that improves on conventional cardiac monitoring technology and could treat arrhythmia, the researchers say.
"The heart is dynamic and not flat, but electronics currently used for monitoring are flat and rigid," says … Read more
Magnetometers are typically associated with large-scale projects such as digging for oil, locating submerged objects, and detecting archaeological sites from spacecraft. But now, with unprecedented sensitivity to magnetic fluctuations, a prototype being developed at the University of Leeds could greatly improve the diagnosis of cardiac conditions.
"The new system gets round previous difficulties by putting the actual detector in its own magnetic shield," says University of Leeds Professor Ben Varcoe, who is leading the research team.
Using a magnetometer to examine the cardiovascular health of humans has, up until now, been expensive and complicated, and has required containing … Read more
Simon Scarle's giddy enthusiasm (see photo, at right) could be the result of getting to play with Xboxes on the job. More likely though, it's because his recent discovery about the console's graphical processing unit could save thousands of lives.